I received my undergraduate degree (with honors) in Economics from Delhi University, my masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and my PhD in Social Work with a Graduate Certificate in New Institutional Social Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis.
My work focuses on the political economy of development, the politics of institutional change, and the impact of social and economic change processes on the poor in developing countries. I investigate how institutions at the global, national and local levels interact to shape human well-being in marginalized communities in the third world in an age of globalization and a period of ‘late’ capitalism. My interests lie in political economy, community development, institutional change, economic liberalization, social policy, marginality, sustainable development, livelihoods, agriculture, natural resource management, commodity production, market-driven development strategies, democratic decentralization and participatory development. I use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods grounded in ethnographic fieldwork.
Sponsored by grants from the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences and the Southern Asia Institute at Columbia University among others, my current work explores a range of themes. These include the impact of neoliberal reforms on development policies in the global South, the transformation of development policy and service delivery in post-liberalization states in the 21st century, the effects of market-driven development strategies on human capabilities and social relations in resource-scarce communities, and the interaction of policies with social norms to shape effects on communities. My work draws upon multi-level ethnography among communities inhabited by tribes and marginalized-castes in the harsh, semi-arid environments of Gujarat, western India, the flagship state of pro-market reforms in the country. While South Asia is my regional focus, my interests include Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the United States.